Council Tax in Brighton and Hove will rise by 1.99 percent this year following a compromise agreement between Labour and Green Party members on the city council.
The Green Party group originally forwarded a proposal that would have seen council tax increase by 5.99 percent, but a heated six hour debate on the plans ended in stalemate two weeks ago.
Brighton and Hove Council eventually voted 29 to 19 in favour of Labour’s initiative from a smaller 1.99 percent increase, despite several members of the Green Party group threatening to vote against the majority green administration’s final budget.
If the Green Party proposal for a 5.99 percent rise was approved, it would only have been validated following a city-wide referendum because it would have been more than two percent.
The local Green Party claimed that a 1.99 percent increase was necessary in the face of cuts in central governments subsidies to local councils across the country, with predictions that up to £19million could be lost this year, causing a £26million funding gap.
Projections by Brighton & Hove Council indicate that only £4million more will be raised in the 2015/16 financial year through council tax and rent than was raised in the 2014/2015 academic year. Further projections predict that the funding gap will reach £102million by 2019/20.
The Conservative group leader, Geoffrey Theobald, who’s party targeted an freeze in Council tax, dismissed the new budget as a “bad deal” for the city.
After to rise was approved, he said: “It’s all very depressing for our residents but also very predictable.
“It’s a bad deal for residents, especially with car parking charges going up as well as council tax increases at seven times the rate of inflation.”
All 15 conservative councillors voted against the proposed rise and were twinned with the grouping of rebellious green councillors in opposing the deal.
Six members of the Green Group publicly announced their intention to vote down the budget’s tax cuts, with three joining the Conservatives in opposition of the measures and the other three abstaining.
Warren Morgan, the leader of the Labour, condemned the “militant” sections of the Green Party and Conservative party groups for attempting to vote against the last-minute budget, which was passed seven days before the illegally imposed deadline.
Morgan commented: “It was our aim all along to set a budget at an af- fordable rate and protect funding for children centres, for voluntary sector groups , for domestic violence funding and more, and we’ve achieved that.
“I condemn the militant Greens and the Conservative group for pushing us to the brink of handing control of our local services to government-appointed commissioners, who would have inflicted cuts even deeper and faster than already imposed by this Conservative Government.”